At the start of the school year, a gun went off at Balboa High School in San Francisco. YR Media’s Mila de la Torre recounts what it’s like inside a school lockdown.
In 3rd period English class, there was an announcement over the intercom: “Lockdown, we are in lockdown.” I looked up to see the fear in my teacher’s eyes. When I heard the stress in his voice as he told us to get down, I knew this wasn’t a drill.
I sat in the far corner of the room, my back pressed against the wall. My hands were shaking as I texted my parents. I told them we were in lockdown and that I loved them. That I didn’t know what was happening, but I loved them. I can’t count how many times I said that in those next few hours.
My classmates and I sat on the floor and watched a livestream of the local news from someone’s phone. We watched police cars pull up, and helicopters circling overhead, and cops storming the campus with giant rifles. Another classmate downloaded a crime app. Every couple minutes it sent us updates about video surveillance showing the suspect removing his red hoodie, and paramedics tending to an injured victim on campus. Finally, we heard a voice on the intercom, “We are about to evacuate the building. Please be ready.”
We were a jumbled stampede fleeing campus. Outside, crowds of parents waited for us. Several news trucks and police cars were lined up down the street. I ran to my mom and hugged her and let out a cry. I’ve never been so relieved.